The following is a post from Kevin Olivieri, TIG Global Social Media Analyst.
Although the product of group buying company Living Social, “instant deals” doesn’t involve group buying. Instead, Living Social’s “instant deals” is a relatively new feature that releases time sensitive deals to mobile users who are within a .5 mile radius of the business offering the deal. The main goal of this feature is to bring higher traffic into your business during slower times through these instant deals.
Not long ago, LivingSocial pulled a huge publicity move by offering $1 lunches to people in DC at participating restaurants. This limited time deal was only available in Washington, DC, only available for a limited time, and only accepted through the LivingSocial’s iPhone or Android smart phone app. The deal is considered a success and garnered 30,000 purchases, while also generating tons of buzz.
So what is it about the “instant deals” feature that makes them attractive for businesses? Check out my top 5 reasons below:
TOP 5 REASONS FOR LIVINGSOCIAL INSTANT DEALS
- Mobile: LivingSocial already has their own mobile app for their daily deals and escapes, but the “instant deals” feature takes the application to the next level. Consumers can check the app on the go and find a deal that suits them when they want it the most.
- Hyperlocal: The available deals are hyperlocal, making them extremely relevant to consumers as they are near the point of purchase. There are two formats to view the deals: users can see the deals listed by distance from their current location or they can visualize the deals on a map and see exactly where the deals are.
- Timed: The deals are timed with hours, not days. Bars or restaurants can now run deals depending upon when they want to attract more consumers. For example, Bar X can run a deal between 4-7 to promote their happy hours and get more traffic and business. The idea is to provide an incentive for customers to visit by offering an instant deal at a time when traffic is low to your business.
- First movers advantage: LivingSocial was the first group buying business to offer this feature last month, and with the $1 lunches in DC last week generating national buzz, it’s successfully raised the level of awareness for consumers who are now looking for it. Groupon is in the process of releasing a competing feature called “Groupon Now” that will give location based deals to users who are in two categories: “I’m Hungry” and “I’m Bored”. No release date is announced but surely this is a sign that location based deals will be very popular in the coming months and consumers will be searching for them.
- No waiting, actually instant: Unlike usual group deals where you have to wait a day to redeem them “instant deals” are just, that instant. If consumers are hungry now and see a deal at restaurant, “instant deals” will help them find something nearby they can redeem immediately. Now your business won’t have to worry about customers not redeeming their purchased deals.
This “instant deals” feature has been adopted mostly by the restaurant industry so far; however, there are opportunities for retailers to begin offering these deals. If you are a retailer with several competitors nearby, the “instant deals” feature can help you attract clients already in the area and provide them with an incentive to visit and potentially buy from your store.
“Instant deals” comes on the heels of a recent $400M round of funding and reports that LivingSocial will overtake Groupon in 2012 as the biggest group buying company in the world. Whether that’s the case will remain to be seen. One thing is for sure: Considering the benefits for businesses and consumers alike, these instant deals will continue to gain traction and become hugely popular just as group buying has become.
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